FCT airlifts first batch of 410 pilgrims to Saudi Arabia

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA has airlifted 410 as its first batch of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

FCTS commerce the airlifting with a commitment to ensuring that its contingent for the 2022 Hajj operation gets the best treatment comparable to any other state of the federation or even the world.

Minister of State in the FCT, Dr Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, gave this commitment while addressing the 410 pilgrims in the batch at the Permanent Hajj Camp, Bassan, Abuja.

A statement signed by Special Assistant to the minister, Austin Elemue said Dr Aliyu hinted that despite the new policies introduced by Saudi Arabia and relevant authorities after the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCT Administration was proactive in ensuring that all its intending pilgrims complied with relevant policies to participate in the spiritual journey.

Aliyu said; “In order to actualize the success of this important religious obligation, the Administration, through the FCT Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, introduced a number of strategies, some of which are orientation, radio enlightenment programmes, administration of COVID -19 vaccines, medical screening and other programmes organized to address possible obstacles that may hinder the success of the Hajj operation”.

She therefore enjoined the pilgrims to remember that Nigeria is passing through some economic and security challenges which require their prayers, just as she called on them to pray for the success of the forthcoming general elections in 2023.

“For this country to come out of these various predicaments, the importance of your prayers cannot be over emphasized. It is in this regard, I urge you all to reciprocate this kind gesture extended to you by being good ambassadors of the FCT and the country at large.

“Pray for the peaceful coexistence of our dear nation as one entity. Always remember that you have no other country to call your own than Nigeria,” she added.

In his remarks, Director, FCT Muslim Pilgrims’ Welfare Board, Malam Muhammad Nasiru Danmallam, revealed that the board has approved a total of 1,995 pilgrims from FCT to perform this year’s Hajj exercise.

Danmallam commended the efforts of the Minister for making it possible to secure a befitting accommodation in Makkah for the pilgrims which he said is located about 800 meters away from the Masjid al-Haram.

He however used the occasion to warn officials selected for the operation that the board would not tolerate any act of indiscipline, stressing that anybody found wanting during the exercise shall be severely sanctioned.


World’s most powerful passports in 2022

 By admin


The 2022 Q2 Henley index of most powerful passports in the world is out.

The Henley Passport Index ranks 199 passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.

Leading the global ranking are Japan and Singapore’s passports, which have once again ranked first as the most powerful passports in the world, allowing their holders to enter 192 countries without a visa or receive their visa on arrival.

Germany and South Korea hold joint-second place. Holders of the two passports are eligible to travel to 190 destinations without a visa.

Meanwhile, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Spain tie for third place, with a visa-free score of 189.

The UK has moved up one place to number five, sitting alongside France, as well as Ireland and Portugal, with a score of 117.

The United States stays at number six, with a score of 186, sharing the position with Belgium, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland.

There’s no change at number seven, with Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Greece and Malta staying together again, with a score of 185.

Afghan nationals sit at the bottom of the index once again, and can access just 26 countries without requiring a visa in advance.

The Henley Passport Index, based on exclusive data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has been regularly ranking the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006.